Sunday, October 25, 2009

First In-Person Shop Experience


My church youth group hosted a community garage sale on October 24 (my birthday, incidentally) in order to raise money for an intensive youth Bible study pilgrimage. In addition to accepting secondhand items to sell, they rented out parking spaces in our giant parking lot a bit off-campus. As a sort of experiment to see whether I could sustain an in-person shopping environment, I decided to pay the entry fee in. At the very least, I would be donating money to the church youth, so I figured it would be a good cause all around. I fully expected to not make money (after all, most people were bringing secondhand stuff, and shoppers would be looking for deals), but I wanted a baseline experience in case I ever wanted to do jewelry parties or craft fairs.

I woke up before the crack of dawn at 6:20 a.m. For morning birds who don't understand night owls like me, this is the equivalent of you getting up at 3 a.m. I went to Walmart for a big frappuccino, then heading to the parking lot. It was still dark when I began to set things up, which was something I had not anticipated. Fortunately, I could see okay as the sun began to come up. A few weeks ago, I bought some jewelry display items from Craigslist for a great deal, and I was excited to use them. They ended up working really well, except when the wind picked up, and then I laid everything down flat.

It took an hour to put every piece out (and about fifteen minutes to put everything away at the end of the experience), but I'm really pleased with the result, especially considering how tiny my card table is. I was the smallest table at the flea market-like set-up, and a bit out of the way even though I was up front, but I had some adequate traffic.

I get flustered in social situations, especially ones in which I am asking for money. There was one woman who haggled me down to $20 on a $60-70 haul of jewelry, and frankly I'm still a little annoyed at that. I suspect that she used the language barrier between us to her advantage, but there is nothing to be done about it now.

There were a few jewelry casualties: a piece that I thought had welded actually hadn't, and a sharp jolt on the concrete after a gust of wind broke the two pieces apart (which is spurring me to try two-part epoxy as my next adhesive experiment). Another gust of wind blew over a whole necklace display from the back. Fortunately, none of the stones shattered, but one of the glass pieces looks like it might have been affected. I'll try and clean it off or remake it.

I sold some pieces, which as I said above was more than I expected to sell, so it was a success no matter what. I made enough money to comp the entry fee and most of the supplies. Since I'm mostly a hobbyist trying to act like a business woman, that's kind of bittersweet. Still, it's something, and it's experience. And I'm sure the people who bought the jewelry will enjoy them, so that's positive, too.

I've learned to bring a bigger table, and I hope that I can find a more appropriate venue for my jewelry next time, a venue where "the lowest prices evar" isn't usual. A more casual craft fair would be a good next bet, unless one of my coworkers wants a jewelry party. Next time I should bring a good-looking mirror as well as one dollar bills to make change. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, right?

Aside from needing a nap later and throwing off my sleep schedule, it was a better experience than I had been anticipating.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Featuring Honey Harvest Treasury


If you haven't figured it out, I love honey colors. I periodically make treasuries to honor other people who love amber. Enjoy this Honey Harvest Treasury.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Featuring Opalescence Treasury


I made this treasury from some of my favorite jewelry artists and then some - a gorgeous, mystical Opalescence Treasury in honor of the October birthstone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Featured in Summer Treasury


All those autumn treasuries, and I suddenly get picked for a wishful summer treasury. My "Throw in the Beach Towel" necklace was selected for the A Warm Summer Breeze Treasury.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Featured in Warm Autumn Glow Treasury


My beautiful "Autumn Nights" orange carnelian earrings were featured in this Warm Autumn Glow Treasury.

I think part of the reason why I've been in so many treasuries at once later is that I love autumn colors - rich reds and ambers - so that I basically design for autumn and winter all year.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Introduction to Elysia


Ever since I started making jewelry, this is the kind of jewelry I wanted to make. Richly textured pieces inspired by fantasy, mysticism, magic, enchantments, myths, both established and created by me. It's one step down from steampunk, which I would like to tackle as soon as I get a full grasp on creating items for this series. Elysia is a derivation of Elysium, the afterlife fields of the Greeks. It's not quite heaven, but it is sometimes referred to as a synonym of heaven. I also like the taste of the word, sibilant yet smooth, more than other names I considered.

When I am not making jewelry, I write supernatural short fiction and novels, so creating these jewelry pieces also enables me to create stories for each piece. Take, for instance, the "Trellis" necklace story or the "East of Eden" necklace story. Each item is micro-fiction, and while Elysia is certain the most expensive and time-consuming series I've done so far, it is also one of the ones closest to my strengths. The pieces require wire-wrapping beads onto chains, adhering buttons and cabs, counting out chain links, layering brass filigree... and this is only the beginning. I still have supplies for another wave or two, although I hope that this is the series that catches on. It epitomizes the objective of my store, which is to create elegant and eccentric jewelry. I only hope that other people appreciate the series as much as I do.

Each one of the Elysia pieces is awesome, but my favorite has to be the "Opium" necklace, with a Czech button that can either be interpreted as poppies or poinsettias.

You can find the first wave of Elysia necklaces and earrings here.